How the Blues of the Birth Can Turn Sons into Tearaways

Daily Mail (London), March 1, 1999 | Go to article overview

How the Blues of the Birth Can Turn Sons into Tearaways


MOTHERS who suffer postnatal depression are more likely to produce disruptive children who do badly at school, according to research.

But only boys seem to be affected by their mothers' black moods.

The sons of mothers who suffer depression are more than twice as likely to be badly behaved than those of women who do not suffer mood swings. They also appear to be less intelligent, says psychology professor Lynne Murray.

She is to outline her 'worrying' findings at a university seminar in Stirling, where she will call for better care for sufferers of postnatal depression.

Unveiling her study yesterday, she said the condition often prevented normal interaction between mothers and their children. 'When you are depressed it is hard to be alert, responsive, or sensitive to your child,' she said.

'Some depressed mothers express high levels of hostility and criticism towards their baby. Alternatively, they can be terribly withdrawn and unresponsive.

'If the baby is crying the depressed mother sometimes just sits there looking blankly into space. This can cause the baby to develop more depressive or withdrawn tenden-

cies.' Professor Murray, of Reading University, compared the reactions of several hundred well-adjusted mothers and their children with those who were depressed. …

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